You’ve seen it in horror and science fiction movies – an alien creature that can spit acid, dissolving obstacles or its opponents. Did you know that there are real animals that can shoot acid, poison, or other liquid projectiles as protection? Yes, you read that right – real animals that spit acid.
What is acid? Acidic chemicals are corrosive – they dissolve substances and cause burns – and taste sour. Why do animals use acid? They use it as a defense mechanism. The smell, taste, or painful burning sensation caused by acid can make the predator think twice about the next meal.
Check out our list of acid spitting animals.
# 12 Animals That Spit Acid: This Beetle Kicks Boiling Chemicals Out Of His Ass
Bombardier beetles are ground beetles that are capable of releasing hot chemicals from their abdomen – essentially boiling water. How does the beetle do this without hurting itself?
There are two glands at the end of the abdomen. Each gland contains hydrogen peroxide and a reservoir for acid. When threatened, it compresses the contents of the reservoir into a “reaction chamber” filled with water and enzymes. The result is a chemical reaction in which the water heats up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. The reaction also creates pressure, which releases boiling water, steam, and harmful chemicals.
Although the reaction chamber is only 1/16 inch, the beetle can aim and control the speed and force of the spray. Its eruption is so violent that it makes an explosive sound.
If eaten, the bombardier beetle will still use its defense. This can cause frogs or other predators to regurgitate them! In fact, there are about 500 species of acid-shooting beetles that are found on all continents except Antarctica.
# 11 Animals That Spit Acid: Ants Spraying Formic Acid
Most ants have a sting, with which they inject formic acid, which causes pain and rashes. This is what gave the fire ants their name. However, some species spray acid rather than sting. Formic acid is stored in a bag in the ant’s belly, and it can make up 20 percent of the ant’s total mass!
The redwood ant is the most famous of the acid spitting ants. Inhabits a colony of up to half a million individuals. When threatened, thousands of ants release acid several inches into the air.
Interestingly, some birds have learned that formic acid helps to get rid of pests such as ticks and ticks. They will deliberately disturb the ants by stepping on them to force them to release a “bath” of formic acid.
The Malaysian ant uses its venom in a different way. He has bags of poison in his head, back and stomach. When he senses danger, he contracts the muscles to put more pressure on these sacs. The bags explode, the ant dies, and the predator is showered with poison.
The Sheepdog Beetle is also capable of spraying formic acid. He probably gets acid from the ants he eats.
# 10 Animals That Spit Acid: Blind Termites With Fountain Guns
Some North American termites have a “pistol” on their heads. This horn-shaped projection, called the fontanelle, emits a sticky liquid that insects use to scare off predators. Despite being blind, termites can spray accurately from a distance of up to several centimeters — a distance greater than the size of an insect. This adaptation is widely featured in the cartoon. Antz.
# 9 Acid Spitting Animals: Scorpion Whip Weapon
Whiplash scorpions are arachnids. They have claws like scorpions, but they don’t have a stinging tail or venomous fangs. Instead, spray an acid that smells like vinegar, but 20 times stronger than vinegar, from two turrets on your stomach. They use a whip-like tail to direct the spray. This acid probably won’t burn your skin, but it can damage your eyes. This distraction gives the scorpion whip plenty of time to get away from a potential predator.
# 8 Animals That Spit Acid: Caterpillar’s Poisonous Breath
The caterpillar of the tobacco horned worm eats poisonous tobacco. It then releases toxins, including nicotine, through the skin to ward off wolf spiders and other predators. Researchers call this “protective halitosis” or halitosis.
# 7 Animals That Spit Acid: Insect-Stick-Devil-Rider Glands
This stick insect can excrete chemical compounds called terpenes from the glands on the metathorax, on the back about the third pair of legs. If it gets into the eyes or mouth of a predator, the chemical will cause severe burning sensation. The spray is strong enough to knock other insects off the back of the stick insect!
This stick insect is born with the ability to defend itself in this way. Even stick insect nymphs have been seen shooting terpenes at attacking ants.
# 6 Animals That Spit Acid: Spitting Cobra Venom
There are twelve types of cobra spitting. Unlike other snakes that use needle fangs to inject their venom, spitting cobras use their fangs to spray it. Snakes do this by squeezing the muscles around the venom glands.
Cobras are frighteningly accurate. At a distance of 6 feet, they direct the poison to the victim’s eyes with 90% accuracy. At 2 feet, they are 100 percent accurate. They can also bite and inject poison if you get too close.
What happens if you get hit by cobra venom? Its poison is a neurotoxin, that is, it acts on the nervous system. Although usually not fatal, the poison causes pain, tissue damage, especially the cornea and mucous membranes, and sometimes even blindness.
Interestingly, most snake venoms are tasteless, but cobra venom tastes slightly bitter if you’re unlucky enough to get it in your mouth. This indicates its acidic nature.
# 5 Animals That Spit Acid: Do Camels Spit Acid?
In comedies, it is common for camels to spit on those they don’t like. It’s also a real defense that they use when another animal gets too close. The camel spits out mainly vomit, which contains digestive acids from the stomach.
Bird chemical warfare
Some birds vomit with projectiles to scare off predators. Consider the following outstanding examples.
# 4 Animals That Spit Acid: The Sour Vomit Of A Eurasian Rollerball
A small bird called the Eurasian roller loves to feast on grasshoppers. When threatened, the grasshopper releases chemicals from the plants they eat in the hopes of leaving a bad taste in the bird’s mouth. This may work for some birds, but not for the video. In fact, the roller is capable of accumulating some of these chemicals in its body. When disturbed, it spews out a mass of orange chemicals, the smell of which can scare away predators.
# 3 Animals That Spit Acid: Avoid Turkey Vulture’s Splash Zone
The American turkey vulture uses a similar strategy. If the predator approaches the nest, adult birds throw the contents of the stomach. This potion is not only acidic, but it can also contain bacteria and partially digested carrion with an unpleasant odor.
# 2 Animals That Spit Acid: Fulmar Fatty Acid
The sea petrel, a species of seabird, extracts an orange oily substance from food. When threatened, it can spit oil up to six feet high. This substance mattes feathers and corrodes their waterproofing oils. Even eagles are known to die of cold or drown after a Fulmar spat on them.
# 1 Animals that spit acid: worms and spiders that spit glue
Velvet worms are many-legged invertebrates similar to millipedes. He can secrete “slimy sticky fluid” from glands located on the sides of his head. He uses this sticky slime to catch prey.
Spitting spiders develop this tactic. They spit out liquid containing liquid spider silk as well as venom. When the liquid reaches the prey, it solidifies into a sticky mass that immobilizes small insects. The spitting spider then ends up killing with a venomous bite. Spitting spiders live on all continents except Antarctica.
Why didn’t Skunk make our list?
You might be wondering why the skunk, one of the most famous liquid-shooting animals, didn’t make our list. The reason is that the skunk’s smelly liquid is not acidic; it is alkaline. This is why some home remedies recommend using sour tomato juice to speed up the removal of skunk odor when spraying.
Next: Cockroach vs. Water Beetle: 5 Key Differences Explained